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Excellent album - but with some potential left unfilled
on 1 November 2010
After the sheer brilliance of the audaciously titled Most Powerful EP In The Universe, Dinosaur Pile Up had set quite a standard to live up to. And whilst undoubtedly a real stormer of a debut album, Growing Pains does seem to lack something of the sparkle of the former release. That's not to say there's anything to dislike here - early belters like 'Birds & Planes' and 'Barceloner' are a blast of grunge at some of its' finest, and the (slightly) more subtle harmonies of 'Broken Knee' and closer 'All Around The World' do something to add extra dimensions to the mix. The slower chugging pace of 'Hey Man' too, borrowing a riff from preceding EP track 'Opposites Attract' showcases the band's subtler side, with a Weezer-esque lyrical style that is both simple but incredible effective. The sound is indeed rather derivative, though certainly no more so than the hundredfold stereotypical indie bands floating around, and while influences here are worn so visibly on sleeves that there's little point in detailing them, the only real problem this album suffers from is a lack of some of the interesting dynamics and song structures that were present on their earlier work - the magnificent 'Beach Bug' from their EP being a fine example. Where songs like re-recorded early single 'Traynor' and the Foos reminiscent 'Mona Lisa' soar to rock and roll's loftiest heights, tracks like 'Love To Hate Me' begin to feel a little forced - as if frontman and one-man-studio-band Bigland is afraid of letting his impressive wall of sound drop even a little.
Again, undoubtedly a solid, storming record that surely deserves a place among the best rock albums of the year. There's simply a nagging feeling of potential left unfilled that leaves one aching for a sophomore album that lives up to the impressive standards the band had previously set.